As Pagans/Druids/Wiccans we are supposed to be practicing a nature religion. This does not mean just an occasional donation to Greenpeace or the ASPCA. It means getting out where there are trees and birds and actual living natural elements. Maybe it’s because I started my formal path to the Craft out in Nature but this to me seems a no-brainer. Nature religions mean nature, ie all of it including bugs and creepy crawlies.
If you use the elements at all in the practice of your religion you are practicing a nature religion. The elements are the building blocks of nature ergo, one should have a passing familiarity with wind and weather, dirt and trees, tides and rain, sun and campfire. In order to do this one has to GO OUTSIDE!
Otherwise there is really no point in being a pagan and go practice something else. Go practice one of those religions that regard themselves as having dominance over the Earth.
Before last two years of working at kid’s camps I found the Craft or more correctly, it found me. I got out of control and unable to shut out other people’s emotions and thoughts and one of my friends who had been taking classes in Dianic Craft at the local feminist bookstore dragged me to her HP. Kathy being Kathy gave me the wrong directions. For a fire fighter who had to get to the correct place to fight a fire she could not give directions to save her life. Anyway, I ended up getting my trusty Thomas Guide out and figuring out that the witches lived on a tiny street named Broomfield. (Where else would a witch live?) And got there in time for a ritual that I had no idea was happening and helping braid their new coven cord. I was greeted by what at the time I thought was a 10ft tall woman dressed in white who turned gleefully to Kath and said, “See I told you she’d get here!” Way to scare the newbie.
That night I got the first crash course that Merrie would give me. A reading list that consisted of one book. There only was one book back then that was readily accessible. Positive Magic by Marion Weinstein. Spiral Dance wasn’t readily available yet. I didn’t find that for at least another year.
At the time I was working at a Catholic girl’s summer camp in the mountains around Wrightwood sitting smack on the San Andreas fault. I could look straight down several hundred feet into the fault right out the door of Arts and Crafts. Way to be intensely conscious of earth energy. I was in stealth mode and the other counselors all thought I was the token Protestant. I was hiding my book every time someone walked into the building.
I had worked at camps as A&C and Nature Director for many years, becoming a pagan was the next logical step because I no longer fit in my parent’s church and all the things my grandmother had taught me about nature and the earth were striving to get out and express themselves in some meaningful way. Especially since I was about to graduate with a degree as a Naturalist. It all made more sense.
So maybe that makes sense why I’m part of a nature religion but why do so many pagans never set foot outside in nature? I live within 5 miles of 2 wildlife refuges and most other Los Angeleans do too because there are places all over Los Angeles where nature is accessible. Many we’re spoiled but even New Yorkers have Central Park and the Bronx Zoo and botanical garden. So why aren’t you outside?